What We Do In Binghamton

We let our dogs roam the backyards guarding against

squirrels. They are brave in the face of cats, but wind

is a brute and leaves are psychotic killers. We build

snowwomen. Sad ones. We rank number one in

pessimism and complain about it. It is impossible to find

a psychiatrist. There are no open spaces. No parking

at the University. No space on Parade Day. No parking

during the art walk, on First Friday. There’s

a painting called “Grandmother,” with a wrinkled smile propping

up green eyes. Next to it, an unnamed display of a ferret

pelt on top scattered light bulbs.  We have traffic half –

circles, but all our other portions are large. We don’t want

your hydrofrack.  Sometimes we just have to

put on a moustache. Sometimes it’s a snow day and we

use up all the saved stickers on one poster. It can be lonely

during the winter so you better have a big

family.  We have pools in the summer when the snow finally

shrivels in black heaps and disappears. Only 50 cents. And our trees

are green; they know good customer service now. We wait for our

mail and watch a tree dance for us. Make mental notes for

improvements. Stand in line behind 30 people for regular

soft serve. We watch it all die too. Call that death beautiful

before we curse the cycle because we’re cold, not because we’re

altruistic. We say goodbye to baby toys. Dora has found a nuevo amiga y

everyone moves on. We learn about the Iroquois. There will be

a long house or a rattle or something else made from

paper mache and  glitter, just as the Iroquois did it, and at the end

of the year parents will date their children to a dance. We will

wait for them to date for real and pretend the texting

means zero. Our kids cross the train tracks to get to the Red &

White for junk food. We find a sole shoe abandoned outside

Price Chopper. This is where the goldfish cracker was last

month. Change is inevitable. The kids walk to the Red & White

and when they come back they sit on the porch and talk

about going away to college. They want to stay here, except

the ones who want to leave more than breathe. Even they

will be back.

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